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Drones with Commanders
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:05   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Drones with Commanders

I've seen a lot of posts lately stating, "Don't bring drones with your Commander! He'll lose his IC status and can be shot at!" I decided to read through the rules on this issue and I'm not so sure it's true. I'm interested to hear what others think. Here's the question:

Does bringing a Commander with attached drones negate his "you can't shoot me unless I'm the closest target" rule?


Traditionally, the answer has been, yes, it does negate this rule. I've always played my IC's as lone characters without drones because I believed that if I brought a Shield Drone or two that I'd lose out on my targeting immunity. I'm not so sure anymore. Here are the pertinent rules:



Quote:
TE p.32 (Commander section): Independent Character: Unless accompanied by a Bodyguard, the Commander is an independent character and follows the Independent Character special rules in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook. If accompanied by drones, he may still join other units as an independent character.
Quote:
TE p.31 (Drones wargear section): Drones must maintain coherency with the unit their controller is in. If he is an independent character than the drones and character form a unit but the character and drones may still join another unit.
Most folks (including myself) would stop here to point out that by buying drones, a Commander "forms a unit" with the drones and therefore is no longer a character (i.e. an "IC" is not a "unit"). Therefore, since he "forms a unit" he can be targeted as a unit.

Quote:
BBB p.8 (Units): A unit will usually consist of several infantry models or small vehicles that fight as a group, but it can also be a single, very large and/or powerful model, such as a battle tank, a mosntrous alien creature or a lone hero. In the rules that follow, all these things are referred to as units.
Quote:
BBB p.51 (Characters): [Independent] Characters who've joined a unit are considered part of that unit and so may not normally be picked out as targets. [Independent] Characters that are not part of a unit can only be chosen as targets if they are the closest target to the firer.

So here's my logic. According to BBB p.8, an IC on his own is already a "unit", since he fits the description of a "single ... powerful model, such as a ... lone hero". Therefore, simply saying that the act of "forming a unit" negates his IC status is incorrect... since IC's are already units!

Furthermore, TE p.32 very clearly states that the only time a Commander isn't an IC is when he's joined by a Bodyguard (which clearly doesn't apply here). It then goes on to clarify that if he's not joined by a Bodyguard, the rules for Independent Characters in the BBB apply to him (which would include immunity from being targeted).

In conclusion, the TE book pretty clearly identifies that a Commander with attached drones is still an IC, and that he "forms a unit" with his attached drones. The BBB says nothing that prevents an entity from existing as both a "unit" and an "Independent Character" (in fact p.8 states that all IC's are also units... even ones that are only a single model). Therefore it stands to reason that the unit consisting of a Commander and his drones is an Independent Character and falls under the rule on BBB p.51 and cannot be targeted unless it's the closest target.


Thoughts?
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:23   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

You make a good argument, I must say that must have taken some time to piece together. As far as I know though, the commander looses his ic status once he gets the drones. I think its sort of made clear by the statement made in the TE 'dex where it says that "he may still join a unit if accompanied by drones". I think that the simple fact that they had to make it clear that he could still join other units shows that he is no longer an IC. Then again that reason alone really isn't enough to make a solid argument. You have me confused, but I hope you're right, it would be way awesome if I could throw some drones on my commander.

I called the direct services guy about it and he says that its a no go. He said that he looses his IC status. Well he could still be wrong, I mean he didn't write the rules.
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:25   #3 (permalink)
lonely tau
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

I personally disagree with this because it states "The character and the drones form a unit." That means that you've formed a new unit which negates the IC status. Otherwise I bet somehow I could twist the rules to say that I can make an entire IC squad...:shifty:
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:30   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Tau
I personally disagree with this because it states "The character and the drones form a unit." That means that you've formed a new unit which negates the IC status. Otherwise I bet somehow I could twist the rules to say that I can make an entire IC squad...:shifty:
So it appears you fall into the camp of, "The act of existing as a "unit" negates one's ability to exist as an IC. An entity can't both be a "unit" and an "IC" at the same time". How then do you reconcile BBB p.8?

This certainly is the historic viewpoint. I thought I covered this above?
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:36   #5 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

Well, to get into semantics, a Character on his own is a Unit, but he is not "part of a unit", because he is the entirety of it. But with drones, he is part of a three-model unit. That is getting into the precise words more than I am comfortable with, though.
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Old 24 May 2007, 03:59   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Thoughts?
Yeah, I've some thoughts. Hiya, again, Tonka! As you know, I'm not an authority on this, but I have been struggling with it in my own groups. Anyway, here's where I am on the issue right now. I'm going to address some of your points out of order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
The BBB says nothing that prevents an entity from existing as both a "unit" and an "Independent Character" (in fact p.8 states that all IC's are also units...
I totally agree with you and the BBB. Being a unit and being an IC is not exclusionary. In other words, it's not an either or, its an and. You have a category called "units" which is nearly everything you bring to the table top. Those units may be IC or may not. You can think of it analogously to Vehicles and Tanks. There is a large category of Vehicles, but only some Vehicles are also Tanks. Think of it this way: A hammerhead is a Vehicle with the Tank trait, while a Piranha is a Vehicle that does not have the Tank trait.

Monat (single model) Tau Commanders can be a unit. If they are alone, then they by themselves form a unit that has the IC trait.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
"[Independent] Characters who've joined a unit are considered part of that unit and so may not normally be picked out as targets. [Independent] Characters that are not part of a unit can only be chosen as targets if they are the closest target to the firer."
I notice that you did something I consider important here that most people do. You added the word "Independent" to the text in front of the word character. This addition confounds the sentences. The term "Character" refers to one entity on the table, but, like a unit or vehicle, it has sub-categories. A character may or may not be an independent character.

In the case of our good ol' XV8 Battlesuit Commander - he is a character at all times. If he is alone (monat, single model on the table) then he qualifies as an Independent Character, and most importantly, sentence #2 you quoted applies. If he is within a group containing other models (whether he joined them or they joined or come with him) then he is not an Independent Character, but he is still a Character. Sentence #1 applies.

This distinction is found in the Characters section of the BBB. In the beginning of that section, where it talks about some different types of characters, it says [only] a single model can be an independent character (if it has the special rule). I am going by memory here. Sorry I don't have the text quotes on hand. Anyway, this is why I consider only a Lone Monat Commander as forming an Independent Character Unit.

The last distinction my group makes, that is important for your consideration, is between forming units and joining units. If something "forms" a unit (such as commander+bodyguards, or kroot+kroot hounds+krootox, or 3 piranhas in a squadron, or commander+drones) then they become a single unbreakable entity. This single unit they form can never have IC status, because they are not a single model. However, models or characters within the unit may have special rules that make them act a certain way in certain circumstances. For example, if a character has access to the IC rule, even if he not currently an IC (such as commander+bodyguards) then that model fights separately during assaults. The Tau FAQ clarifies this for us, telling us specifically that commanders fight separately from their bodyguards.

Another example of situational IC-like rules is the situation of a commander with drones. Together they form a single unit (without the IC rule - so no protection from targeting), but this tiny 3 model unit may still join other units as (meaning in the same way) that a unit with the IC special rule does. At least, that's how I interpret it.

So these are the cases for "forming" a unit. Incidentally, units that are also ICs may "join" or "leave" other units during play. This coming together to "join" is not the same as "form", primarily because in the case that an IC unit joins another unit, it does not lose its classification as an IC.

EDIT: Just thought of possibly an easier way to explain the difference in how we view "form and join" when we play. If you "packed them all into a group" as a unit selection when you built your army list, and they can't operate separately after Turn 1 begins, then they have FORMED a unit. If you built two (or more) unit selections (or units within a selection I guess...do guard do that???) that can operate together as one entity, but also can separate effectively after Turn 1 begins, then this is the case of two units JOINING.

Taking all this into account - here are some example situations of how my group plays. Its based on the above, which I admit, may not be right. But it ends up being fun for us when we play.

Commander Monat - can't be targeted, classic single IC unit.
Commander with Bodyguard - Forms a single non-IC unit that can be targeted, commander fights separately in CC, commander may not voluntarily leave this group.
Commander joins Crisis Elites - classic case of a single IC unit joining another unit - can be targeted, IC fights separately in CC.
Commander with drones - Forms a single non-IC unit that can be targeted, may still join/leave another unit the same way an IC does, this unit (commander+drones) fights separately in CC from other units they choose to join in this manner (similar to an IC), commander may not voluntarily leave his drones.
Commander with drones and bodyguard - Forms a single non-IC unit that can be targeted, commander+his drones fight separately in CC from the Bodyguard battlesuits (and any drones they have), commander may not voluntarily leave this group.

So the only way we play that a commander CAN'T be targeted is if he is truly alone (a classic IC case). Likewise, drones taken on a commander are always with him - they are never separated.

Probably just gummed up the works...but thought I'd chime in on at least one take. Good Luck, Tonka!

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Old 24 May 2007, 04:03   #7 (permalink)
lonely tau
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Tau
I personally disagree with this because it states "The character and the drones form a unit." That means that you've formed a new unit which negates the IC status. Otherwise I bet somehow I could twist the rules to say that I can make an entire IC squad...:shifty:
So it appears you fall into the camp of, "The act of existing as a "unit" negates one's ability to exist as an IC. An entity can't both be a "unit" and an "IC" at the same time". How then do you reconcile BBB p.8?

This certainly is the historic viewpoint. I thought I covered this above?
you just covered it with different words and opinions :P

Think of it as Orks and their mob-up rule. If a squad is falling back and their within so many inches of another Ork squad of the same type, they roll a Leadership test and become a new unit. For all other purposes, the unit that was running away no longer exists, and the other unit has just mysteriously gained a few models.

Now you put the drones into the role of the standing squad, and the Crisis Commander running away. They pass their morale test and form a new unit. Now imagine all of this taking place before the battle and that's how I see it.

And I hope I worded that well enough to explain it...
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Old 24 May 2007, 05:56   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

As far as I know, when I roll with drones on my Shas'O and they start dying, I have to roll Morale to see if my Leader runs off the board. Nothing sucks more than seeing your hard core leader run away when expendable drones die....
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Old 24 May 2007, 06:01   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

Well, T0nka, the main problem I have with your solution is that, at least imo, accompanying Drones work similar to Bodyguards, i.e. they form a unit with him which he can`t leave - meaning he would automatically lose his IC statues until he gets rid of his Drones.

Furthermore:

Quote:
BBB p.8 (Units): A unit will usually consist of several infantry models or small vehicles that fight as a group, but it can also be a single, very large and/or powerful model, such as a battle tank, a monstrous alien creature or a lone hero. In the rules that follow, all these things are referred to as units.
LONE HERO. Someone who has Drones with him isn`t alone. He has to make Ld-tests if he loses one; there are three models instead of one. So definitely not meeting the definition of a "lone hero".
Furthermore, this would be the only example of a IC-unit in 40K, and I doubt that setting a precedence like this was on GW`s mind when they wrote the Tau rules.
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Old 24 May 2007, 06:33   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Drones with Commanders

remember that that is clarifying what models are units... they are not one and one model able to stray off if they want...

that particular text doensent have anything to do with the IC rules.. it just clarifyes that lone characters are units too..
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